Monthly Archives: January 2013

Double Vision

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Mounting a full-fledged, full-length opera is an incredible challenge in every way you can imagine, and especially when the time between first rehearsal and first performance is one month.  But that’s exactly the insane scenario facing us with “Elixir of Love.”  We began on January 8th- and the first of our two performances is February

Slow Fade

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I need to tread carefully here, because I am about to share someone else’s story without their permission- and I know that I have a small handful Facebook friends who will know exactly who I am talking about.  I will not use her name and will obscure some details in the story. This is the

Hot Stuff

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These days, thanks to the intense rehearsals for Carthage’s “Elixir of Love” for which I am music director,  I am feeling absolutely immersed in music, but very busy making it versus taking it in - especially with the Carthage music calendar mostly dormant in the month of January, thanks to J-Term.  There are no student

Magic Elixir

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Well, we’re roughly halfway through the rehearsal process for Donizetti’s “Elixir of Love,”  the J-Term opera production at Carthage College, and I have to say that this is shaping up to be one of my happiest and most satisfying artistic undertakings in all my years at Carthage.  It’s a combination of a great opera, a

Sister Acts

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The world got a whole lot more interesting on January 18th, 1965.  That’s the day that my sister Randi Kirsten Berg was born.  I can still remember the day when mom and dad brought her home from the hospital- wearing a bright red outfit - and she has been making a big splash in our

Life in the Middle

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I’ve spent most of the last couple of days in the company of over 140 middle school students.  That’s right, middle school students . . .  which under normal circumstances would be towards the top of my personal list of Things I Do Not Want To Do - right between “having a root canal” and

Being A Blessing (a Requiem lesson)

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When the invitation came early last year from Waterford High School director Derek Machan came for me to compose a new requiem for him and his choirs,  I can’t say that I leapt at the chance or charged forward with confidence.  The fact is that I have never written anything remotely resembling a full fledged

Portland Trailblazer

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There’s nothing quite as exciting or satisfying as life’s unscripted adventures, and I just experienced a real doozy. The occasion was the convention of the National Opera Association in Portland, Oregon- a gathering of singers, teachers, conductors and impressarios from across the country.   At some point last year, my department chair - Corinne Ness -

The Wizard and Me

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As I am typing this, I am aboard a Frontier jet bound for Portland, Oregon- where I will be making a presentation at the National Opera Association’s convention.  My talk is titled “Messing with a Masterpiece: Lessons Learned from Abridging and Arranging The Marriage of Figaro.” I will be looking back at the exhausting, yet

What the World Needs Now . . .

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“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”   (Hal David/ Burt Bacharach, 1965.) Yesterday, my own New Year’s Eve celebration included a drive down to Highland Park, Illinois to see a truly incredible film called “The Impossible,” starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts.  It’s based on the astonishing true story of Maria Belon and